Five years after last stepping into the ring, Queenstown boxer Callum Owen’s about to make his pro boxing debut.
Owen, who was the national amateur champion in 2014, and won the super welterweight title in 2017, will fight Christchurch’s Josh Iongi at Canter bury’s Champ Nation Boxing tonight in the ‘‘co-main event’’ super welterweight 59kg class.
It’s been a long time coming for the 33-year-old, whose last fight was in Samoa for a New Zealand development squad in November, 2017.
‘‘I’ve been intending on fighting again for years — I’ve probably been talking about it for five years — but, obviously, life gets busy,’’ he says.
‘‘I’ve started my own business, [and] have a young child, so I’ve intended to, but things keep popping in the way.
‘‘So, I just sort of bit the bullet and locked it in.’’
For the past 12 weeks he’s been in full fight prep under the guidance of his ‘‘dream team’’, Fight Science head coach Rob Horrocks and Stewart Mitchell.
The former, he says, has taken training to a new level.
‘‘I used to think I trained hard, but this is something different.
‘‘It’s been hard, but, as I expected — it’s probably why it’s taken me so long to get back in there, because I’m aware of the work that has to go into it.’’
And Horrocks has his money, as you’d expect, on his man.
‘‘I think he’s going to do spectacularly, he’s going to steal the show and look amazing doing it.’’
Horrocks says Iongi’s had one pro fight before, which he won in the first round with a knockout, ‘‘so he’s a good, strong opponent’’.
‘‘He can hit hard and he comes forward, but, I think skills-wise, Callum’s boxing ability will shine through.’’
Saturday night’s fight will comprise four three-minute rounds and, based on his training, Owen says he’s hoping to come out on top, ‘‘but we’ll soon find out’’.
Meantime, Levi Prier and Nicola Beswick both won their amateur debuts in Timaru last weekend in Muay Thai and K1 kickboxing, respectively, with ‘‘dominant, unanimous decisions’’, while next Saturday Diego Beneduzzi will fight in Christchurch’s King of Kings four-man K1 kickboxing tournament, the winner of which will go on to represent the South Island.